On 20 February, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs addressed the extraordinary meeting of the EU member state foreign ministers in Brussels and expressed support for applying targeted sanctions against Ukrainian officials who are directly responsible for violence and violations of human rights of their people.
“Latvia believes that Ukrainian officials on whose conscience there lies excessive use of force against civilians and gross violations of human rights, should be held fully responsible. Latvia stands for targeted EU sanctions against those persons, which would envisage introducing travel restrictions and freeze those officials’ assets in the EU territory,” Latvian Foreign Minister indicated. The minister stressed that Latvia strongly condemns the escalation of violence in Ukraine and holds the opinion that the Ukrainian President should take full responsibility for the current developments in the country.
Edgars Rinkēvičs informed EU foreign ministers about talks held with the highest-ranking UN officials in New York on 19 February and noted that the alarming events and violence in Ukraine had been discussed with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Foreign Minister reiterated readiness, in line with the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers decision of 18 February, to continue receiving the injured from Ukraine for medical treatment and rehabilitation, and called on the EU member states and various institutions to provide humanitarian assistance as possible.
The EU foreign ministers at their meeting decided to support the introduction of targeted sanctions against Ukrainian officials. The extraordinary meeting was convened at the request of EU member states including Latvia in relation to the escalation of the situation and a new wave of violence in Ukraine on 18 February, as the result of which several dozens of people have lost their lives.